Several Israeli cities witnessed demonstrations yesterday evening, Saturday, against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his approach in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and its repercussions, despite the authorities imposing new restrictions on gatherings.
In Tel Aviv, demonstrators organized simultaneous marches in several parts of the city bordering the Mediterranean, according to an AFP photographer.
The Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported on its website that tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated in several locations around the country, calling for the resignation of Netanyahu and his government.
It reported that the police had arrested at least 13 demonstrators in the cities of Tel Aviv and Kfar Saba (north), confirming that the police forces attacked a female demonstrator in Tel Aviv.
On the other hand, supporters of Netanyahu in Haifa launched fireworks at the demonstrators against him.
For its part, the private channel “12” reported that the protesters against Netanyahu were keen to demonstrate within a kilometer of their places of residence, according to the restrictions imposed by the government as part of the measures to combat the outbreak of the Corona virus.
These protests came just 3 days after parliament approved a law to limit the scope of such demonstrations.
The new law prohibits Israelis from holding demonstrations more than a kilometer from their homes and imposes stricter social distancing, in a measure the government said aimed to curb COVID-19 infections, and critics described it as a blow to freedom of expression.
On Friday, Israeli Tourism Minister Assaf Zamir – who is affiliated with the centrist Blue and White Party – resigned, in protest against the restrictions imposed by the government on the demonstrations.
Zamir considered – in a tweet in which he announced his resignation – that Netanyahu’s focus is on his ongoing trial in corruption cases and the growing protests against him, more than on combating the second wave of the spread of the new Corona virus.
“I am not ready to accept for another minute a reality in which the right to demonstrate is restricted,” he wrote on Twitter, adding, “Therefore, I must do what my conscience dictates.”
For months, thousands of Israelis have been demonstrating weekly against Netanyahu and his government, as part of what they described as mismanaging the Corona crisis.
Israel entered the second comprehensive closure phase on September 18, which includes closing non-vital workplaces, markets, places of worship, cultural activities and educational institutions, as well as limiting the distance to travel to obtain essential needs such as food, medicine and medicine, by one kilometer.
Israel has counted more than 260,000 cases of Covid-19, including more than 1,600 deaths, and it currently records the highest weekly rate of injuries compared to the population, in the world.